Do you know the screening recommendations for oral cancer?

April 10, 2014
Oral cancer recommendations from the USPSTF and WHO.


Additional articles on oral cancer:


April is oral cancer awareness month. Do you and your team know the screening recommendations?

The United States Preventive Service Task Force’s (USPSTF) screening for oral cancer recommendations state:

"Oropharyngeal cancer is difficult to visualize and is usually located at the base of the tongue (the back third of the tongue), the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth), the tonsils, and the side and back walls of the throat. A comprehensive examination of the oropharynx may require referral to a dental provider or specialist." (Bold added.)

Additionally, The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) state that an oral cancer screening examination should include a visual inspection of the following:

Face, neck, lips, labial mucosa, buccal mucosa, gingiva, floor of the mouth, tongue, and palate.

Mouth mirrors can help visualize all surfaces. The examination also includes palpating the regional lymph nodes, tongue, and floor of the mouth. Any abnormality that lasts for more than 2 weeks should be reevaluated and considered for biopsy.

Dentistry is the front line of defense in the identification of oral cancer. If you do not perform this examination routinely at every recare visit, are you really doing your patients a service?


About the author:

John C. Comisi, DDS, is a graduate of Northwestern University Dental School and has been in private practice of General Dentistry since 1983 in Ithaca, NY. He is a Master of the Academy of General Dentistry, and lectures on various dental topics and procedures. Visit his practice page here.